Tuesday, 5 May 2015

New Goals, New Plan, New Start

Welcome to the world second son!

On 12th April my second little boy made his entrance to the world. I had been looking after myself in the hope of having a natural birth after an emergency cesarean section with my first son, but nature had other ideas, as it does a lot of the time. Unfortunately I suffered a placental abruption and haemorrhage and was rushed to theatre for a second emergency section to save both me and my boy.

Thankfully due to the medical professionals I handed us both over to, we made it through that stage, but nature hadn't finished with us just yet. I think due to the speed and abruptness of his arrival, my little man seemed to forget he had been born and stopped breathing. Again the wonderful doctors and midwives worked their magic and they brought him back to us. He required a short stay in special care but after 4 days we were both allowed home and are now well on the road to recovery.

I have realised a lot since this experience and most of it about how precious life is. Before this, I didn't seriously consider that life could be snatched away in a moment. We were told at the hospital had I been even half an hour later arriving it could have been much more serious, and I felt fine, I had no idea.

I've also been much more aware of my recovery. Firstly having my strength sapped out of me from the one procedure and feeling it slowly return day by day. As unfortunate as it was that my boy was in the special care unit and we were separated, it made me fight that bit more to make the journey to the unit as soon and as often as I could, at first in a wheelchair, then at a slow shuffle, until I could do that walk confidently on my own. It has made me more aware of the importance of exercise in keeping your body going and doing all the things you want to do. Had I just lain in bed, as I could easily have done, I would have missed out on even more time with my son and I probably would have been in hospital a lot longer. As it was, by the day I came home, I was barely needing any pain relief and could do most things for myself again.

While my recovery this time has been going really well, I haven't come through it unscathed. I will never give birth naturally now and never know what that feels like. While it is disappointing, I am grateful that I have and still can have children at all, although I now know not without some risk. I also have become more aware of my own mortality, which is a scary thing to face, but I am more determined than ever to look after myself as much as I can to prevent any risk I have control over myself. Life is precious, why endanger it further by being unhealthy? I want to live a long life with my family and the best way to help that happen is to look after myself.

I also want to add that I wouldn't have recovered as quickly as I am doing without the support of my family, but especially my husband. He has looked after me so well and really helped me recover at my own pace by taking so much of the pressure off me. I honestly couldn't have got through this without him.

So with my new motivation, the next part of my healthy lifestyle begins. It's been odd watching my body grow so big again,  (before I gave birth I had put on all of the 3st 10lbs I'd lost) and then watching it receed again in a matter of weeks. At the moment I am left with approximately 1st 7lbs to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight but I'd like to lose a little bit more this time.

While I am determined to be healthy, I am still getting my strength back. Recovering from major surgery while not sleeping more than 3-4 hours uninterrupted, and also breastfeeding which can burn over 900kcals a day, is making it difficult as I am exhausted. My general diet is OK, I'm just snacking a bit more than I'd like. They're not too bad snacks on their own but I'm probably having too many! Plus the occasional take away has snuck in when I'm too tired to cook.

I have a new appreciation for the benefits of exercise too and when I have the energy I'm trying to get up and move around. At the moment it's just the occasional walk to the shops or the park, but I'm keen to get back to running as soon as I can. I initially thought that I couldn't do it for 6 months following a section but after some research I've learned that if the doctor gives me the ok at my 8 week check, I can start then if I feel up to it. Until then I need to build my strength and fitness with lots of walking, and if I feel able, some gentle yoga or pilates. I hopefully shouldn't have too much to make up as I was still doing weekly zumba until 2 weeks before I gave birth and had only stopped work 5 days before!

I have also, probably naively, set myself the goal of doing the 5k Race For Life for the fourth time this year, about 2 months after giving birth. I would like to run it but that is looking less likely as I'll have only just had my 8 week check, at the moment I will be happy just to walk it. But either way, it's giving me motivation to get my strength back and a target to aim for.

I still have my Facebook group Happy Healthy Honeys, but up until my 'maternity leave' interest in the current format was definitely waning. I'm planning to move the group away from the diet group it was with weekly updates etc to it being a place to share anything to do with living a healthy lifestyle such as motivating quotes, interesting articles, ideas for exercise plans, recipes, etc etc.

So please find the group on Facebook if you're not already a member, and hopefully you will find something to help motivate you too!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

New Year, New Start - Top 5 Tips to Get Back On It!!

For the last couple of months since my last post I've been plodding along, quietly growing a little person and dealing with all the things that go along with that. I've managed to only put on 10lbs so far and stayed the same dress size (but maternity version) on the bottom and gone up 1 dress size on the top. I've not fallen too far off the healthy eating bandwagon and up until the christmas break, I was still keeping up with my zumba. All in all, not too bad. Could be better, but not too bad.

I have really focussed my outlook on the whole diet/healthy lifestyle thing now though and I am definitely in the headspace of calling it a lifestyle change, rather than a diet, as that is what it has now become. I am really looking forward to getting back to my running too, something I never thought I'd say. I'm avidly thinking about what fitness items I would love to have and planning how I'm going to get back into exercising once I've had the baby, all being well. I'm reading more health related tips and trying to fit them into my life at the moment, while not tracking my calories at all, simply focussing on trying to be healthier and using my knowledge and the scales as my guide.

I'm trying to fit in more exercise where I can but I have been seriously set back by dealing with a permanent cold for the past 5 weeks alongside all that comes with being pregnant. I'm trying to stay positive about it and I've only missed the 2 weeks of zumba I would have missed for christmas anyway, but I'm not managing to do much else. I'm trying to do little bits where I can, such as walking, yoga etc but I know this is an area I really need to work on. Fingers crosssed this cold clears soon and I can try and fit a little more in for my final trimester.

Aside from that, I'm also thinking about this time last year when I really started this journey. I've noticed how much the media and retailers really push the health and fitness element at this time of year, its no wonder I was inspired. I know most people will have given up by the end of the month, but if you are thinking about starting/re-starting/improving a healthy lifestyle, please take advantage of all that is on offer at the moment. If you really push yourself now, who knows where you could end up? It certainly worked for me!!

To help you on your way, here are my top 5 tips on getting your healthy lifestyle off to a good start/restart - 

  1. Moderate the christmas leftovers! We'll all have bits and bobs of naughty treats left over from Santa, but don't be tempted to binge on them all to get them out of the way. Ideally, you would bin them or give them away, but a lot of this stuff will have been gifts and it feels ungrateful and rude to do so, but if you can get rid of it, do so. If not, moderate it and allow yourself a little treat at the end of the week for eating well and exercising - just don't overdo it.
  2. Plan your weekly eating - This has been a lifesafer for me more times that I can count and would be my absolute top tip. At the start of the week, I make an eating plan for the week consisting of 7 main meals, various lunches, breakfasts and healthy snacks. I start with using what I have in the house already and then add whatever else I need to the list. Then I stick to it when I go shopping! It has not only helped me stick to my diet (I can't eat what I haven't bought) but it has also halved my shopping bill. What better way to get over christmas than to be healthier and (slightly) wealthier?!
  3. Read, read, read! - There is an information overload at this time of year about ways to be healthier, recipes and exercises to try. Read as much as you can and try what interests you. If something doesn't work, try something else, but keep on going. For someone starting out, I would recommend reading up on the exercises to do at home as the gym or classes can be a bit daunting at first. I've seen loads of things around at the moment to try and a quick google would find you more, most for many different ability levels.
  4. Buy yourself some new gym clothes - There are loads of them on sale right now so treat yourself. It only has to be something small, like a new t-shirt or vest top, but it will give you that extra motivation to get it on and get active.
  5. Talk to others - So many people will be giving it a try so talk to each other, share your stories and your ups and downs. Maybe even try a class together? Or something like the 30 day ab challenge? Even a bit of healthy competition (as long as you don't take it too seriously) can spur you on.

One more quote I have heard somewhere to leave you with - it takes 66 days to make a new habit - so keep it up till March and it should stick, 3 months really isn't that long. 

Fingers crossed and best of luck! I'll be joining you again soon!!!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Diet fails: Excuses and how to avoid them

When I started this blog, I tried to give useful tips on how to stay focused on a diet and one of the important things I said was 'No Excuses!'. Well alright, but if you're really stuck in the habit of making excuses, how do you recognise them and work around them?

I think the first and most important thing to realise is that if you're trying to lose weight, then you are unhappy with your size and it is your old/current lifestyle that put you in this position. You don't gain weight by accident, as nice as that would be to believe. Even if you are happy with your size but would like to be healthier, then it is still your old/current lifestyle that needs changing. 

Therefore, the next thing to realise is that you need to eat healthier and exercise more - it actually is as simple as that. Your lifestyle isn't working and you cannot carry on as you are, end of. Whatever the excuse for eating those crisps or burgers, this is what you need to be telling yourself.

I am far to aware that it isn't always that easy though. I didn't fail at so many diets over the years because I could just tell myself this and magically solve my problems. You do need to get yourself in the right frame of mind however, or it won't work. I can't stress this enough. If you're not willing to be strong and just get on with it, then you will fail. I know this sounds blunt and harsh but it really is the truth.

So, here are some excuses that were given to me by my lovely facebook group members, ones that we all tell ourselves when we really just want to eat badly or not exercise. I'm hopefully going to try and help with what you should be telling yourselves and ways to combat them to keep you on track.

I'm too tired I've been in work all day/Fed up and need comfort food/Not enough time

We've all been there, well I know I have many times. You've spent all day working hard or have just had a really rubbish day and nothing seems worse than coming home and cooking a meal. All that chopping, slicing, boiling, frying... meh, I'll just get a takeaway.

First things first, you need to remind yourself of what I said above - I'm not happy so I need to change my lifestyle. Ask yourself the following questions - have I had bad day recently that I need to make up for? Have I pigged out at lunch or have I eaten well today?

Do you have anything easy you could throw on instead? Things I kept in the cupboard for days like this were Maggi sachets that involved literally just bunging some chicken in the oven covered in a spice sachet. You could even just have grilled chicken that literally takes 5 mins a side to grill (or 5 mins in total if on a George Foreman grill), covered in any spices from your cupboard. Another alternative is chicken parcels, cover chicken in a sprinkling of any spices you have in, wrap it in foil or baking paper and put in the oven for 25-30mins. Easy peasy and hardly any prep.

Easy but healthy accompaniments are couscous (soak in stock for 10mins), basmati rice (boil with a stock cube for 10mins, for extra healthy points throw in some frozen peas/sweetcorn), even oven chips if weighed out to the recommended portion size on the packet. If you want veg as well to be extra healthy, most vegetables will boil in 10 mins. Keep some tinned carrots in the cupboard so you don't have to prep, or frozen peas. You can also get little pre-portioned packets of mixed veg that keep in the freezer then microwave in a couple of minutes.

Another option is when you do cook a meal, make an extra portion to freeze then on days like these you can just re-heat one.

However, sometimes all of this will fail. Its only natural. I did have occasions where I had takeaways or frozen pizza and still lost weight. You just have to be really careful about what you chose and think about what would be a healthy choice, not just have whatever you fancy, and do not let yourself give in to temptation more than once a week, and don't do it if you know you have an occasion coming up where you know you will over eat or be unable to chose too healthily (such as a function or family meal).

As well as the above, here are some things to remember when all else fails:

Avoid: Stay away from the average 'American/Italian' menu such as fried chicken, burgers and pizza. Just don't do it. You know they're really high in calories, its not rocket science. Do not have a starter, try to minimise the damage and don't make it worse than it has to be. Avoid anything on the menu that mentions the following words 'fried, cheese, cream, oil, crispy, pastry'.

Aim For: If you go for a chinese, stick to plain rice, not fried, and a main that is in a tomato based sauce or specifically states it has plenty of veg in it. Aim for chicken over other meats. A good option is chow mein which is noodles in a plain sauce with veg, some give the option to have it 'dry fried' but then it will be fried in oil which is not as good. 

Most indian curries will be cooked in cream or ghi (clarified butter) so are best avoided. However, most indians will do something called a 'shashlik' which is basically a tandoori chicken kebab and is a brilliant option. It will come with salad so don't order any rice with it. If you have to go for bread, go for a chapati over a naan. If they don't have the shashlik, look for tandoori chicken which is basically the same thing.

Don't like the gym posers and the fees/Wet weather/Too tired to exercise. 

Exercise. Its the toughest part right? It always has been for me. It is so much easier for a lazy girl like me to sit on the sofa and do nothing.

As I said above, this is probably what got you to where you are now and you need to keep that at the very front of your mind. Exercise is tough, I will not lie to you and tell you its easy. What I will tell you is the results are worth it. And I mean consistent exercise, not just once a week or now and again when you can be bothered. I mean 2-3 times a week, at least 30 mins a time, where you are shattered afterwards and feel it the next day. Remember this when you don't feel like it.

So to combat some of the exercise excuses I will add in these top tips -

  • If you don't like the gym or classes, don't go. If you hate something you won't do it. This is not leeway to do nothing however, it means you find something else. Try classes, try jogging, try exercise videos or apps on your phone/tablet, research exercises on the internet and put your own routine together, if you have the money buy some home gym equipment and sit in front of the TV on a crosstrainer or exercise bike. Do not give up! Keep trying until you find something that fits.
  • Wet weather - again, as above, try something else. Do a home work out or have a day of yoga and/or stretching. Do anything other than break your routine.
  • Too tired - sorry this is just a time you have to suck it up and get on with it. You have to push through to get to the stage where you have more energy and you won't feel so tired. I have pushed through exercise before with a stinking cold or a day after recovering from a stomach bug, and yes I found it tough, but I felt better afterwards. Just don't push yourself as hard but don't give up.
  • You can do effective exercise in just 25-20min sessions. High intensity exercise all out for this time is more effective than a half-hearted hour long session. Research this on the internet and look into what exercises work best. I have heard it said a few times that if you are doing more than 45 mins, in the gym particularly, you will be wasting a lot of your time. The key time seems to be 30 mins of intense exercise that leaves you breathless and sweaty, several times a week.

I need it! 

Do you really? Or do you need the boost of losing a pound on the scales more? Do you need the benefits of healthy eating more? Do you need that feeling of accomplishment because you were strong and said no? I think the answer to this one is obvious!

One day won't hurt I will start again tomorrow.....  


We would all love this statement to be true wouldn't we? Sometimes it can be, but be honest with yourself. Is it really just one day? What about a couple of days ago when you forgot to make your lunch for work and had that naughty sandwich from the canteen? And what about the other night when you couldn't be bothered making tea and had some chips? And then what happens tomorrow as you know you're going to have a busy day in work and will be tired when you get home? And then there's that night out this weekend where you'll be drinking. 

The truth is, its never just one day. You also know that once you stop, its too easy to give up altogether. Remind yourself of that dress you want to get into, or how good it feels to get on the scales and have lost a pound. Remind yourself that you need to make changes if you're not happy where you are now.

This also ties in to 'I'll start again next week' - the more bad days you have, the more damage you will do. Try and minimise this as much as possible by getting on track as soon as you can, the very next meal ideally. Don't ruin your hard work.

Night shifts and then the change to days

I found the solution to this hard to put in to words so bear with me while I try and explain it. A good routine for someone who works shifts will not relay on times of the day. For example, lunch won't be 12-1 and tea won't be around 6pm. It would probably go something more like this -
  • Wake up, have breakfast
  • 2 hours later, have a small snack such as fruit or low cal baked crips type snack
  • 2-3 hours later have lunch
  • 2 hours later have a snack
  • 2-3 hours later have tea
  • 2 hours later small snack, ideally a couple of hours before bed to allow it to settle
Therefore your day will not be based around the clock so it doesn't matter what time you have your meals, you just work them around your day and shift pattern. This is obviously just a rough example and you can adapt it to whatever your routine is on any given day. 

The main rule to remember is that you should be eating around every 4 hours to avoid your body going into starvation mode and storing fat. Adding in snacks like above will keep your sugar levels on a level and also will avoid you getting so hungry at meal times that you binge, whatever time that may be.

With regards to exercise, the best solution I can think of here is think about when you are most likely to stick to exercising - are you better doing it when you wake up or a couple of hours before you go bed? Alternatively, are you best slotting it in the middle of your day on your days off? Work out what works best for your and work this into your routine.

I eat like a pig which is fine when working cos it's a very physical job and burns lots of calories but I do nothing on days off but eat the same if not more.


The thing to remember here is that you should eat consistently no matter what you're doing. If you are sticking to a caloried controlled diet, then that should be the same no matter what you are doing, don't allow yourself extra calories to accomodate exercise but think of it as extra calories burned. If you are lacking in energy on busy days then have foods that are more carbohydrate based for energy, such as pasta. As mentioned above, working healthy snacks into your routine can be uselful as it will keep your sugar levels on a level and prevent a crash that sends you scrabbling for chocolate.

Also, as much as I know how nice it is to do completely nothing on your days off, you should try and work in some form of light exercise to keep your metabolism on track, even if its just a walk around the block.

I want instant results, if I haven't lost weight as I would like why bother to carry on, it's not happening.

I am one of these people. It has happened in the past where I haven't got results quick enough and I've just given up completely. The truth is, if you are doing it right, you will get results right away. If you can't figure out why you haven't, do some research. For example, my first week of this diet resulted in nothing happening and I was really disheartened and felt like there was no point. It turned out I was over exercising so I tweaked my routine and by the next week the weight started coming off. It really can be that a small tweak to what you're doing will make all the difference. Focus on finding the answer rather than giving up.

I'll cut out a big dinner and just eat snacks.

This is never a good idea. A lot of snacks can be empty calories or high in things like sugar which will just make you hungrier overall. Put in the extra effort and eat something more substantial and more nutritious, it will ultimately be more satisfying and less calories. If you can't face a big meal, then make something small like a sandwich or a small portion of pasta, or best of all some soup. Anything that has a bit more body and weight to it to put something in your stomach. 

If all else does fail and you do fall off the wagon, then acknowledge what you've done and stop it there and then. As i say above, do not start again tomorrow or next week, start again right then. The best thing you can do is fit is some extra exercise somewhere to try and undo some of the damage, but if you can't do that then at the least just stick to your diet plan and don't give up!!

Monday, 13 October 2014

An Unexpected Twist

Am I the only one that finds just as you think life is about to settle down for a bit, something will happen to set the rollercoaster off again? This time, it’s not in a bad way, it’s in an amazing way!

When last I posted, I had just hit my 10.5st goal weight, but I was also hiding a little secret. I had found out 2 weeks before this that I was pregnant again. Those of you who have read my first blogs will know that I had a difficult time with my first pregnancy, in no small part due to my weight. My BMI was 30 so I was at risk of gestational diabetes, which I luckily didn’t develop, but at the end of my pregnancy I did develop pre-eclampsia (which I have since found out was classed as severe pre-eclampsia). I don’t mean to sound dramatic but I’m not exaggerating when I say that my life was at risk. If any of you are followers of the TV series Downton Abbey, you will recall the untimely demise of poor Lady Sybil whose condition developed from pre-eclampsia to full blown eclampsia and she sadly died. I was told during my hospital stay that this was common for sufferers of this condition back before modern medicine,  that women were commonly left in a room to die as there was nothing that could be done for them. I mention this not to be dramatic, but so you understand one of the incentives for my weight loss and why I was a little bit nervous when I found out I was expecting again. 

When I found out, I was 1lb off hitting my goal weight, so I thought 1 more week of dieting wouldn’t hurt just to get that last pound off. Unfortunately I developed a few days’ worth of migraines that changed my mind and when I did hit the scales I had gained weight. So in my mind, the official diet had then ended. I had an early celebration for getting this far and congratulated myself on losing as much as I had. 

As I have now had pre-eclampsia once, and it would seem I also have a family history of the condition, I was already at risk of developing it a second time. I did not want to add to this risk by putting back on all the weight I had lost, and wanted to do all I could myself to lower my risk. I began researching, first of all on the condition itself, which informed me that as a previous sufferer I was at about 15% risk of having it again, added to that was the family history which maybe put me around 25% risk. As I work as a medical secretary, I understood that in medical terms that was considered high risk, and I knew that the higher my BMI, the more risk I was adding.

Next I looked into what was considered healthy calorie intake and I hit some really muddy waters. As the current World Health Organisation guidelines state average calorie intake for women should be 2000 kcal per day, most websites were saying women should eat around 2000-2200 kcal per day, rising to approximately 2500 kcal in the last trimester. Well I already knew from my dieting that 2000 kcal is already far too many calories for me to maintain a healthy weight. I then read some forums with posts from real women who have tried themselves to eat healthy during pregnancy and what worked for them. These, as you can imagine, varied greatly as well as all women are different. 

Guidelines state that during pregnancy you only need an extra 200 kcal so I used this as a starting point. I had a target of 1400 kcal while dieting, so with the extra 200kcal that would take me to 1600kcal. During the last week of dieting I had been eating 1400-1600kcal and had developed migraines so listening to this input from my body and taking into account all the things I had read, I set the bar a little higher – 1800-2000kcal. I felt much more relaxed when I had a target to aim for as I knew if I didn’t I wouldn’t restrict myself enough and really would be in trouble.

Then I looked into what was considered healthy weight gain. Again this was a bit vague as it varies from woman to woman and takes into account general health, fitness level, exercise level and all kinds of other things. I found a website that took from me my current weight, my height and how many times a week I exercised which gave me a rough idea of what would be considered healthy for me (I would love to link to this for you but for the life of me I can’t find it again!). It roughly said that for the first trimester I could healthily gain around 3lbs, rising to roughly 1lb a week from then on, which overall would be just over a stone and a half. To be generous to myself I set myself the target of 2 stone overall, including baby.
Next was the exercise. I read loads on how it was fine to carry on running up until the last 3 months of pregnancy, just not pushing yourself too hard. Then in the last 3 months you should slow right down to maybe just power walking, but still staying active. I carried on jogging but was finding it increasingly difficult. My times dropped right down and I was walking more than I was jogging. I did one final organised run on a Sunday but I was the last one to cross the finish line by a very large margin and I felt very disheartened by the end of it. I decided that I would stop the organised runs but keep running in my own time at my own pace.

Then I got really sick one weekend which may have been a bug but may have been morning sickness. The plus side of this was that was what lead to me hitting my goal weight, the downside being it brought the end of my jogging. I just stopped because I felt so rough and exhausted as it took me a few days to recover, and never picked it up again. I carried on with my Zumba but I was also finding this hard, like my body just didn’t have the strength to do it. From all I had read, it didn’t really sound right, all the advice had said I should be able to carry on as normal. I had to listen to my body though as I didn’t want to hurt it or risk the pregnancy in anyway.

Then I got wiped out again with a water infection and was put on strong antibiotics. When I went to Zumba after completing the course, I felt like a different person! I had much more energy and could push myself much harder than before. It showed me that it must have been the infection my body was fighting that was making the exercise so difficult and I could carry on if I wanted to. My Zumba instructor suggested power walking instead of jogging and I loved this idea and wanted to give it a try.

However, this is the very sad part for me and the part I’m really struggling with at the moment. Too many of my old bad habits have been creeping back in. I’m eating crisps again, I’m eating cheese and all other bad things that I shouldn’t be eating. I’m only exercising at Zumba once a week, the rest of the time I’m doing very little exercise. The part I can be proud of though, is that I am moderating the bad stuff and not binging on it as much as I used to, when I check my calorie intake most days I do come in around 2000kcal. However I am still having more bad days than I would like and I am really struggling to stop myself. Every time I have a bad day I beat myself up, telling myself that I will just get pre-eclampsia again from being unhealthy. 

I am working on it, but this diet has always been a battle and struggle and it shows no signs of changing. I have learned so many ways to be healthier and I really am trying to beat, or at least control, these demons. I have now just about hit the 12 week mark, which is why it is now becoming public, and I am 3lbs under my weight gain ‘limit’ for this stage, so I must be balancing it out somehow. I know the stressing and worrying is not helping, but that was why I explained what pre-eclampsia means earlier, to show why I am concerned. It would be so easy to just say ‘forget the diet and eat what I want’ but not only would that undo all my hard work, it could risk my life.

What I can also take some solace in is that by losing weight the healthy way by moderating my diet and exercising, I have obviously modified my metabolism enough that it is helping me out now by burning food that bit quicker. I have also noticed a big difference in the level of morning sickness I’m experiencing this time round, I am nowhere near as bad as last time and most days actually feel fine. Hopefully this will all help me later on.

So here continues the next stage of my healthier lifestyle, and quite possibly the hardest one I have had to face so far. I will keep you updated as to how I get on!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

I did it!

I finally reached my goal weight! My weight loss has slowed down in recent months and I think part of me thought I would never get here but I have.

Here's the stats for you - when I started I weighed 13st 12lbs and wore a dress size 18 on the top, 20 on the bottom. I lost weight at an average rate of 2lb a week for the first 3 months and then 1lb a week thereafter. 8 1/2 months on, I now weigh 10st 5lbs and wear a dress size 12 on the bottom and 10 on the top.

Before and After!

How have I done it? In all honesty, I would call it the 'everything in moderation' diet. I haven't deprived myself of anything but I have also been healthy. I've had plenty of time sitting on my backside but I have also exercised.

I would love to say it's been easy, that I've loved every minute of it, but if you've been following this blog you'll know that's not true. It's been hard work. There were days when I wondered if it was all worth it and if I'd ever get there, but as the weight started coming off I knew deep down that not only could I do it, I was doing it!

Diet-wise I've been following a calorie controlled diet with a target of 1400kcal per day. I allowed myself treats but always made accommodations elsewhere to make sure I came as close to that target as possible. On good days I could actually fall below that! I researched and I read a lot of articles on recipes and healthy swaps, making little changes here and there to make my diet healthier. I've never let myself go hungry or deprived myself of anything. I've learned a lot about self control and teaching myself that eating badly doesn't feel as good as a loss on the scales. I've had to stick to my guns and defend myself on occasion but I've also been fully supported.

I found an exercise routine that worked for me. Initially I was doing some form of exercise every day but I moderated that to 3-4 30-45 min sessions a week. I discovered running works for me as I'm at heart a lazy girl and this was the quickest way to get results (2 30ish min runs a week). I also used my fondness for aerobics and learning dance routines (yes I'm a steps fan) to fuel a love for zumba which I avidly attend a class for once a week. I developed a firmer understanding that exercise is the main key to weight loss as you have to burn more calories than you consume and the more you burn, the more you lose.

I learned that I have an amazing support network around me but that at the end of the day, no one else could do this but me. No one else could would put the right foods in my mouth. No one else would burn off those calories and pounds of fat. No one else would feel the elation and sense of achivement of finally getting this right. No one else would feel the joy of wearing a smaller dress size than I did as a teenager. No one else would feel healthier than I ever have in my life. Yes, it took being a bit selfish to make it happen. But it also lead me to being able to share my experience with others and hopefully help people to do it too.

So, now I enter maintenance mode! No longer am I dieting, it really has become a lifestyle change. No, I can never go back to eating how I did before but I no longer want to. I can still indulge now and again but I never really stopped doing that. I'm not perfect, who is in all honesty? But I've feel I've found the key to being healthier and can now be a better role model for my son which, after the weight loss, was the aim all along.

My Facebook group and Twitter are still running and I will still update this blog about how I'm doing. This isn't the end but a start of a whole new chapter!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Recipe: Soy, Lemon & Garlic Tuna

As you may have read in Operation: Rehydration, I was recently diagnosed with dehydrated eyes and started to up my fluids. Part of the issue apparently is a general lack on omega 3 in the western diet and therefore a lack of moisturizing oils in the eyes. I've therefore been trying to add more oily fish into my diet and came across this yummy recipe for a marinated grilled tuna.

The sharpness of the soy and lemon blends beautifully with the sweetness of the carrot and sweet potato for an awesome taste sensation! It's really filling, super low in fat, high in all the good stuff, and best of all its really easy to make.

Soy, Lemon and Garlic Tuna

Serves 2, approx 432kcal per serving.


- 2 x 7oz tuna steaks (approx)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 500g sweet potato
- 1 carrot
- 1 courgette


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c and also preheat a grill or griddle pan.

2. Mix the soy sauce, Lemon and Garlic together in a jug or bowl and spoon onto the tuna. Leave to marinate until ready to cook.

3. Line a baking tray with baking paper (alternatively you can use oil but please add the extra calories for this). Peel the sweet potato, chop into wedges and spread on to the baking tray. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

4. Peel and grate the carrot, grate the courgette and mix together.

5. Remove the tuna from the marinade and grill for 5 mins each side (for medium).

6. Add all remaining marinade to a pan and bring to the boil. Leave on a medium high boil until the mixture reduces.

7. Serve the tuna on top of the carrot & courgette with the sweet potato on the side and spoon sauce over the top. Season to taste.

Monday, 4 August 2014

It's not as hard as it seems…

Diet Doledrums

AKA the dreaded plateau or those stubborn last few pounds. I've hit this point after 7 months and 3st (43lbs) with only 5lbs to go. And they won't!! I'll be the first to say I'm probably not trying hard enough but I was disappointed to get on the scales today and find I'd lost 0.4kg, which is admittedly around 1lb. The problems is I'm weighing myself in kg and haven't dropped into the next kg for around 3 weeks now as  I keep gaining and losing that single pound/half kilo at the moment. I'm going to try really hard this next week to go back to basics and reign everything in as I am so close to that goal I can almost touch it. My calorie tracker reckons I'll hit it in 2 weeks which is possible but we shall see!

Running, running and running, running and…

I keep steadily improving with my running. I managed to get within 4 seconds of my PB this Sunday and ran the whole 5k without stopping for only the second time ever. I was very proud of myself! I managed to do more exercise last week and I'm trying to focus more on toning exercise instead of more cardio.

I've been trying Pilates and can now give that update of the differences between Pilates and Yoga - honestly, not that much. They both involve using the body's own resistance and weight to tone and strengthen muscles but in different ways. Yoga focuses more on flexibility and strength in a gentle, spiritual way with lots of calming breathing, you'll break a sweat but not really realise you're doing so. Pilates is more intense and focuses more on strength in a more intense way so you really feel it working during the exercises and, in my case, the day after. I'm starting to prefer Pilates in a way as it does feel more like a workout, but I think it is just down to personal preference.

Operation: Rehydration, week 2

I'm now into the second week of Operation: Rehydration and I've managed to stick at it! At first I didn't really notice a difference and was feeling headachey and tired, but that seems to be clearing now. I did notice I had a bit more energy and was able to do more exercise than usual, which is never a bad thing! I've barely noticed the drinking more but I have definitely noticed the going to the loo more!! I've never in my life had to think about it so much and make sure I go before leaving the house! But its all in the name of good health and I hope it settles down eventually!!


The idea behind Motivation Monday was to see what motivates people, what makes someone want to change their lifestyle. Of course, I've heard many reasons but I wanted people to share it with the group as I think it can be really inspirational to hear real stories about why people want to change their lives. I also wanted to try to keep peoples motivation up with helpful mantras, quotes or songs as sometimes something will just strike a chord with you and give you an extra boost. I wanted to open it up to everyone as what motivates one person won't necessarily motivate another, so what I think is really motivational might mean nothing to someone else.

Unfortunately I didn't have any entries from anyone this week but I'm ever the optimist and will keep it running. What I will give you this week is a little mantra that has proven itself over my journey so far and something I need to keep reminding myself when I think I can't do it  - its never as hard as you think it is! Once you've made that first step, the rest is never easy, but certainly not as hard as you think.

So please have a think and enter for next week, I can't wait to hear from you!!